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Emergency responders Scott Law, Jill Kavoukian and Dr. Susan Donelan from Stony Brook University Hospital recently completed training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), located in Anniston, Alabama. The CDP is operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and is the only federally-chartered Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) training facility in the nation.

Healthcare and Public Health training is conducted at the CDP's Noble Training Facility, the nation's only hospital facility dedicated to training hospital and healthcare professionals in disaster preparedness and response.

"As the safety officer at University Hospital, you need to be able to provide direction with respect to safety of operations and the environment. You're responsible for protecting responders, staff, patients and visitors. The experience at CDP enabled us to practice response strategies for a variety of scenarios in real time," said Jill Kavoukian, Associate Director, Environmental Health and Safety.

The CDP provides federally-funded, interdisciplinary training for emergency responders from across the United States and U.S. Territories, for 10 responder disciplines: Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Service, Fire Service, Governmental Administrative, Hazardous Materials, Healthcare, Law Enforcement, Public Health, Public Safety Communications, and Public Works.

Many training courses culminate at the CDP's Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological Training Facility, the nation's only facility featuring civilian training exercises in a true toxic environment, using chemical agents. The advanced hands-on training enables responders to effectively prevent, respond to, and recover from real-world incidents involving acts of terrorism and other hazardous materials.

Dr. Susan Donelan, Medical Director of the Suffolk County Regional Resource Center, and an Infectious Diseases physician, found the 4 day exercise useful and encouraging. 'The RRC at Stony brook has greatly assisted our county's hospitals in moving forward vigorously in preparing for all types of disasters for several years. Whether intentional [such as the events of September 11, 2001], or natural [a hurricane], the increasingly complicated exercises uniquely offered at Anniston were the closest opportunity to stress ourselves and react, comparable to a real event. It was both encouraging to appreciate the depth of expertise at Stony Brook and within Suffolk County, as well as eye-opening to the opportunities we have, both as an institution and a region, to further improve our preparation for ourselves and our neighbors.' "

Responders attending CDP training are selected from the nation's 11 million emergency responders. Training at the CDP ensures that responders gain critical skills and confidence to be better prepared to effectively respond to local incidents or potential WMD incidents. "The training was very valuable, it allowed me to try first hand a number of approaches to handling emergencies in real time, and responding to actual outcomes based off available resources," said Scott Law, Director of East Campus Operations, University Police. Working with colleagues from several other hospitals, both large and small, provided other perspectives and approaches to resolving issues. I plan on sending several of the supervisory staff of my department to this training as seats becomes available. The trainers were extremely well prepared and thoroughly covered the material."

Additional information about CDP training programs can be found at http://cdp.dhs.gov. For more information or for photograph requests, contact Kathy Wood, CDP Communications Director, at 256-847-2316 or kathy.wood@dhs.gov.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.
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